An Inspiring Gift

Written by: developer

You never know who you’ll meet at the Space Foundation’s annual Space Symposium, or where that new contact will lead. For Kelly Shelton, Space Foundation Manger – Philanthropy, a conversation at the 33rd Space Symposium this past April led to the donation of an art collection.

At the Symposium, Kelly met engineer Cory Jenkins whose late stepfather — Richard A. Lopez — was an artist with a passion for space. Lopez created a Cosmos series of paintings, each one abstract and unique.  

Kelly followed up with Richard’s widow, who was looking for a permanent home for the Cosmos collection. Through phone conversations and emails, Trina Jenkins-Lopez learned about the mission and vision of the Space Foundation, and knew she had found the right home for the collection. She rented a van, loaded the paintings and drove from California to Colorado Springs to deliver them to Space Foundation headquarters.

She was warmly welcomed by Space Foundation team members who helped her unload the paintings, which are now on display throughout the building, serving as a source of inspiration about the mysteries of space.

“Working on the Cosmos series was a spiritual experience for my husband, Richard,” said Trina. “One day, after spending the morning painting in his studio, he came home and told me that when he was working on a large cosmos piece, he felt like he was one with it and could pass through it into infinity.”

Inspiration is a goal of the Space Foundation’s education mission, with space-based activities designed to spark children’s interest in all aspects of STEAM subjects, including science, technology, engineering, art and math.

“I’m not really sure how his Cosmos series began, but I think this was all just meant to be,” said Cory Jenkins. “Richard would be absolutely ecstatic to see his work make a positive contribution to the education community.”

This past school year, more than 13,000 students and teachers visited the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs to participate in standards-based, hands-on STEAM education programs that will help prepare them for the scientific challenges of the 21st Century. Learn more about those education programs here, and how you can support those programs here.

To see more artwork by Richard Lopez, or to contact Trina, please visit

This article is part of Space Watch: July 2017 (Volume: 16, Issue: 7).